Student-Run Initiative Spreads Refugee Awareness

Aly Fosbury ’21, Associate Life & Style Editor

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Dickinson’s Justice is Served program partnered with the student-run initiative The Refugee Show and Tell Project to spread awareness about the group’s presence on campus and plans to become a formal part of Dickinson’s community.

Last semester Norma Jean Park ’18, Andrea Lauren ’18, Julie Yao ’20 and Alexander Bossakov ’20 created an initiative titled The Refugee Show and Tell Project. The students developed the idea during an assignment in Visiting Professor Jacob Jacob’s Social Media, Social Movements & Social Changes class. “We are all international studies majors, so refugee[s] and the refugee crises are very prevalent in our immediate world, so I think it’s something that is just on our minds a lot,” said Lauren. “We had four people who had international upbringing or experiences…so I think that it was something a lot of us could relate to even if it wasn’t directly a refugee experience,” she added.

On Tuesday, Feb. 27, Park, Lauren and Bossakov held a small presentation in Stern discussing a brief overview of the current refugee crises, what The Refugee Show and Tell Project plans to accomplish and how students can get involved. “The most beneficial part for us…was the dialogue at the end where we wanted to hear from other people. The nice thing about [Social Media, Social Movements & Social Changes] being done, as great as it was, is that now we can really open ourselves to different ideas, to trying different things, to recruiting people to be a part of it,” said Lauren.

One particular topic discussed during the presentation was the petition to introduce Every College A Refuge (ECAR) to Dickinson’s campus. If successful, ECAR would allow Dickinson to provide a scholarship for one refugee student or family in order to help them receive an education.

Justice Is Served coordinator Nora Krantz ’18 proposed ECAR to Dickinson as a sophomore but was not successful. Once The Refugee Show and Tell Project surfaced, Krantz was eager to spread the word about their efforts. “We knew of The Refugee Show and Tell Project from last semester and destigmatizing and humanizing refugees is really important…We thought it would be mutually beneficial for them to share their research and for us to be able to raise awareness and raise interest on campus for the petition for Every Campus A Refuge and for the refugee crisis in general,” Krantz said.

“It was energizing to have a group of creative people in a room together sharing their ideas about how we can destigmatize refugees and welcome them into our community. I’m excited to galvanize support for hosting refugees on this campus through ECAR,” said Julia Kagan ’21.

Cailey Cumins ’20 “really appreciated learning about The Refugee Show and Tell project because I hadn’t really considered how we [think] about the experience of refugees. I didn’t realize how much discourse on refugees focuses on the group whereas this project focuses on the individual which I think is really important. It was also super cool to hear about the suggestions audience members had for the future of the project.”

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